Dr. King’s Unfinished Business

So, I am devoting this week to Dr. King, his honor, and his unfinished business. The Reverend King was a once in a generation man who happened upon a once in a lifetime historical moment.  He was a man exuding with appreciation of life, the grandest will to love, and full of wisdom. We honor a hero and a lodestar for a world even more in turmoil than the one embraced and challenged by the preacher from Georgia.

As I stood at Dr. King’s grave and looked back at the road I had just walked, it was as if I were at base camp of Mt. Everest looking up a the peak of peace, brotherhood, and justice and thinking “how in the world can a globe full of mere mortals make the climb?”  I thought: it will take a transformed person.  It will take a transformed community to lead the way.  But what kind of people will these be, and what will it take to complete the dream?  After all, it will be about much more than little white and black boys holding hands.  There will be pain.

And it was then that I remembered Joseph.

In chapter 50 of Genesis, Joseph benevolently looks back on his life musters up a phenomenal perspective.  His father has just died, and his brothers are worried that Joseph was sparing their lives for his father’s sake.

They are afraid of vengeance. Joseph reassures them with a prophetic word, “Don’t be afraid, am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God turned it into good to accomplish what is being done, the salvation for many.” Though Joseph was talking about his life story, the writer of Genesis really sums up the book with this phrase.  All along, from the fall to Joseph’s fall down the well and down to Egypt, God transformed what was meant for evil into the salvation for many.

And isn’t this the same thing God was doing on the cross?  This emblem of evil and violence.  This wooden cross to crucify the peasant king, the disturber of the Roman peace.  Wasn’t God transforming even then what was meant for evil into the salvation for many?  Wasn’t this sin shattering event the suffering, which both showed us the recipe for redemption and paved the way for us to even be able to walk the mountain path toward salvation and the New Creation? …